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Wilmorite changes casino name and design, boosts investment

By Eric Reinhardt


TYRE — Rochester–based Wilmorite, Inc. has changed the name and design of its proposed casino in Seneca County, and has chosen a development partner and a casino-management firm.

It also announced an increase in its investment in the project.

Thomas Wilmot, Sr., on Wednesday briefed leaders from Seneca County and the Town of Tyre, according to a company news release. Wilmot is chairman of the commercial real-estate development, construction, and management company.

Wilmorite is renaming the proposed facility Lago Resort & Casino, Wilmot said in the news release.  The firm had previously referred to it as the Wilmot Casino and Resort.

“In renaming our project Lago Resort & Casino, we have adopted the Italian word for lake to highlight the magnificent Finger Lakes region and the outstanding vineyards and wineries encompassing the area,” Wilmot said. 

The firm has also updated its design plans for the casino, citing its discussions with Tyre officials and the town’s residents and business community.

 “We have lowered the height of the hotel and parking garage. We have moved the hotel further away from residential and agricultural lands and increased green space on the property. We have brought a new motif to the design of the buildings, befitting the charm and character of the lake and wine region which is our home,” Wilmot said.

Wilmorite has also chosen Los Angeles, Calif.–based Peninsula Pacific Strategic Partners LLC as its development partner on the project.

Peninsula Pacific provides “capital to solve the commercial and liquidity needs of durable middle-market businesses facing an inflection point,” according to its website.

The updated design means Wilmorite and Peninsula Pacific are “increasing [their] investment in project, Brent Stevens, chairman of Peninsula Pacific, said in the Wilmorite news release.

“What had been forecast as a $350 million investment in the resort, casino and hotel, has now been increased by more than 20 percent, resulting in an investment in Tyre of some $425 million,” Stevens said.

Both firms are satisfied with their partnership.

“Peninsula Pacific’s experience, expertise and strategic vision are unparalleled.  The firm has consistently followed a successful path of investing in gaming and other industries, forming strategic alliances that create long term shareholder value,” said Wilmot.

“Combining our gaming development and management experience with the Wilmot family’s construction experience and lifelong commitment to upstate New York creates the perfect marriage to create Lago Resort & Casino,” said Stevens.

In addition, Wilmorite has also chosen JNB Gaming LLC to operate the Lago Resort & Casino.

JNB Gaming’s principals, who include Jonathan Swain, Natalie Schramm, and Brent Stevens, have more than five decades of combined casino-operations experience, according to Wilmorite. 

“Collectively, they have developed and managed five enormously successful casinos in Iowa, Louisiana and Kansas.  JNB and its principals are widely recognized throughout the country as premier casino developers and operators,” Wilmot said.

The firms’ updated economic-impact study indicates the number of construction jobs to build Lago will be “significantly larger,” Jonathan Swain said in the news release.

“We now anticipate approximately 2,100 jobs will be created as a result of the construction activities, 1,400 direct jobs — because the investment is now 20 percent larger — and up to 700 indirect jobs created as a result of the construction.  The vast majority of those direct construction jobs being filled by local tradespeople,” Swain said.

Previous estimates had indicated the project would create about 1,200 construction jobs, Swain added.

The partners continue estimating the creation of 1,800 permanent jobs in Tyre and the surrounding communities following the construction and operation of Lago Resort & Casino, according to Swain.

Wilmorite announced on Dec. 12 a proposal to build a casino and plans to pursue one of the four casino licenses that are available in Upstate.

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